Decoding the Cigar: A Beginner's Guide to the Essentials

Posted by Todd on 27th Jan 2024

Decoding the Cigar: A Beginner's Guide to the Essentials


So, you want to talk cigars, but the mere mention of terms like 'torpedo,' 'churchill,' and 'robusto' has you feeling less like a connoisseur and more like a lost tourist without a phrasebook? Fear not, noble newbie! This guide is your Rosetta Stone to the cigar world, unraveling the mysteries wrapped in a tobacco leaf. 

Understanding Cigar Anatomy: 

First things first, let's slice this knowledge cigar with a sharp cutter of wisdom. A cigar has three main parts: the filler, the binder, and the wrapper. The filler is the heart of the cigar, a blend of leaves that determines the strength and flavor. The binder is the bouncer, keeping the filler in place. And the wrapper? That's the suit – it's all about the appearance and a subtle influence on the taste. 

Shapes and Sizes Matter: 

Just like hats, cigars come in all shapes and sizes. The length is measured in inches, the thickness by ring gauge. A 'Churchill' might sound like it's ready to lead a country, but it's actually a longer cigar, perfect for pondering life's big questions. A 'Robusto' is shorter, for a quicker, robust experience. And that 'Torpedo'? It's pointed at one end, making it the James Bond of cigars – sleek and sharp. 

The Light Fantastic: 

Lighting a cigar isn't like sparking a birthday candle. It's more of a ritual. You'll want a butane lighter or a wooden match. Aim for toasting the foot of the cigar to a nice, even burn. If you're puffing like a steam engine and the end looks like a campfire, you've gone too far. 

To Puff or Not to Puff: 

Cigars aren't cigarettes, and here's the kicker – you don't inhale. Instead, you draw the smoke into your mouth, let it swirl around like you're pondering the secrets of the universe, and then release. It's about taste, not a lung exercise. 

The Flavor Journey: 

Cigars can taste like a spice market in a cloud or a woodsy adventure with a hint of leather. 'Full-bodied' cigars are the big, bold symphonies of flavor, while 'mild' ones are more like a light acoustic set. There's a whole spectrum to explore, and half the fun is finding out where your taste buds want to live. 

Cigar Storage – Humidor or Humi-don't?: 

A humidor isn't just a fancy box; it's your cigar's vacation home. It keeps them at the right humidity so they don't dry out like a raisin or get too moist like a sponge. Aim for around 70% humidity, and your cigars will thank you by tasting fresh. 


Congratulations, you've just been inducted into the basics of cigar-smoking! Remember, the cigar world is vast and varied, so take your time to explore, savor, and enjoy. Whether you're kicking back with a 'Connecticut Shade' or venturing into 'Maduro' territory, every cigar is a new chapter in your education. So light up, puff wisely, and let the learning – and the smoke – spiral upwards.